When I came to, the Vampire was carrying me, which I got ta say is mighty embarrassin’. Me bein a monster hunter and all.
“You can put me to the ground now Vampire.” I said as I reached up to scratch my head and realized that my hat wasn’t there.
He stopped walking and let the arm holding me on his shoulder lax and just let me roll off. Guess my feet had fallen sleepy cuz I just hit the ground.
“What the hell, Vampire! Couldn’a let me down nice and easy coulda ya? I have a mind ta…” I stopped after I got done rubbin my sore side and looked up at the creature…wearing my hat. “Give it back.”
“You are lucky that I carried you at all. Your smell is intolerable. If I were human I would have died from heaving my internal organs out.”
“Don’t care. Give me the hat.” I said as the feeling started to tingle in my legs.
“I’ll be needing this for the rest of the day. My bandages are loose from our fighting and we’re out of wrapping. I’ll need this until we get to the next town. Which should be just after the sun goes down.”
“With my experience you Vamps are a pale bunch, you could probably use some sun. Besides, you look ridiculous in it. Like a potato with a sombrero.”
“Charming, Mr Jones. I’m glad you’re awake, you can carry yourself now. Let’s go.” He said as he turned to keep walking ahead, but then stopped and then leaned down to put his face right in front of mine. His eyes behind those dark bands of his smoldering behind. “Oh, and don’t talk to the girl again.”
“I don’t take too kindly to orders, Vampire. Specially not from the like of yourself.”
“You have been warned,” he spoke as he rose to his full height again and began walking. “Abacus Jones.”
I got to my feet, still a little shaky underneath. How long was I out? I wondered. I dusted myself off and then caught the eye of the girl as she passed by, eyeing me sweetly behind her long black hair. But she kept on, and now that the tingle in my toes was gone, figured I’d set off too. That’s when the boy caught up, so now it was just me and him running up the caboose of our party.
“Guess it’s you and me now boy. Start walking.” I said pointing toward the other two. “I don’t need your creepy eyes staring at me from behind.”
The boy nodded and started walking. I suddenly realized I was last with no one to watch my back. I didn’t like that, especially not without my hat. I ran up and caught up to the boy. He was about eleven by the look of him. Couldn’t have been a vamp since he wasn’t smoldering in the sun. In fact, the tyke seemed mighty fine with all the walking to. I ain’t known many kids in my day, but those I did see was a whining sort, always complaining about something. But this one didn’t ever say a word. Least, not yet.
“So, uh…boy.” I said which he replied with a thin-lipped smile and a nod. “You got a name? Or, uh, maybe a creature type. Cuz I can’t get a read on you.”
The boy’s smile fell to something a little disheartened, but he didn’t answer me anything.
“Um…Sorry? I ain’t meaning it anything personal you see. Just curious. I can read demons and monsters and other things of that ilk. But I ain’t really getting anything off of you. Nor the lady, but I’ll figure her out my own way. But you, uh, no I got nothing. And you not saying a word is damned creepy just like…”
I trailed off as my own words kicked around in my head. The boy was just as quiet as the girl. He had dark scraggly hair and a pale complexion as well. It made sense that this kid was probably her son. But who with? The vampire?! He wasn’t cooking in the sun but, I guess I’d never seen the mating of any monster with another. Well, maybe that one time there was that werewolf that tried ta mate with me, but ain’t nothing come of that, uh…no pun intended.
Well, there was that other time. It was about a year ago now. I was somewhere in Bufford, Texas. Don’t reckon you’d a heard of it. Small town. Only about a hundred people or so. But it seemed some werewolves had just moved in and were picking the town clean. Just two of em mind ya. But hell, one was bad enough.
So the people put out posters, I was close by on accounta losing my horse recently in a sand pit, so I responded. But werewolves was a tricky bunch. Had to wait for them to change with the full moons, and I ain’t some moon walker, so I had to find someone who was.
Fourteen miles east of Bufford was the Te’wa tribe, a group of Indians in these parts. I’d had some dealing with em before. I got thrown down a canyon about six months prior by a Wildaterran, which is sort of like a werewolf except they’re more like apes and don’t have to wait for the full moon, and got knocked out on the way down. When I woke up there were about four arrows in my back and I was bein hauled tied on the back of a horse. The Indian fell off when I started talking to him. He pulled his knife and slit my throat.
I blubbered for a bit, until things started to heal and then with a gruff voice asked if they could pull the arrows from my backside. When the leader come around and see that I survived all of this he said some Indian stuff to his people and they rode the rest of the way back to their homestead, me getting the wind knocked out of me with every step the horse galloped.
When we got there they brought their chief before me, and when I asked if he could pull the arrows out, he obliged me. It hurt. Indian arrow head s pulled more of me out once they was in. I just told them to stuff whatever came out back in and I’d be fine in a bit. The chief saw I was a healing and then fell to his knees. His people followed suit and after they got done with their ritual, whatever it was, pulled me down easy and took me to one of their tents where they allowed me time to heal. They brought food and water and even some of their tobacco, which was like nothing I’d ever had before.
I had weird dreams that night. Blazing fires. Dancing. Even had a Horse talk to me. It was nice actually. He told me about his dad and how he’d been a Buffalo once in a number of lives ago or something. How his back ached from so much riding. And how he never wanted me as an owner. We spent the rest of the night just chatting about Mahogany and Pine and how a table made out of cedar would smell real nice but would be too soft for anything else and would just get indentions from every little effort. It’s when he caught on fire that things got interesting. The way he screamed as his skin flayed from his bones. When he was down to his innards, he sprouted dark burning embers for eyes and then spoke to me in a familiar voice I couldn’t recall a likening to.
“Abacus Jones.” It said in a heated breath. “Your time still persists, but be warned. Your walk on these plains…” Yeah, I don’t remember the rest.
He said something about how he’d be my horse one day or something. Or maybe he said I’d be his horse. Yeah, it was a weird dream. When I woke up, I was mostly healed. When I came out of the tent the Indians were all there and fell to their knees again. The chief finally came to me and spoke in his best English that I was to be given their treasures.
I said that that was mighty nice of them, and they could start by giving me a horse, preferably one without flaming eyes. They said that would be no problem, I think, it was in Indian, and then whisked me away to the river and bathed me something fierce. Why I ain’t seen my skin shine since. My clothes was all roughed up from falling down a mountain, so I was given new ones. All in all it was mighty nice. And that night, they held a huge celebration. We smoked some more of their fancy tobacco, wore wolf skins, and listened to music.
When I woke up the next morning I was married. She was something else, purty I guess, but I wasn’t there to find a wife. I shouldn’t have been there at all. I was there to hunt a Wildaterran. And after knocking me off that cliff, I still owed him a few bullets. The horse waiting outside for me was a white and brown mustang. In fact, now I’m thinking about it, it was the nicest horse I ever had.
Everyone in the camp was still asleep, so I walked the horse to the edge of their camp, then hopped on it’s back and took off over the hills. It didn’t take me long to find the Wildaterran eating up some sheep it musta collected the night before. He tried to run away, but that horse of mine was magic. The thing was faster than the beast and soon enough we was right up behind it so I took aim, cocked my piece into it’s ready position, and fired.
Now here’s where I must claim to the affects of the tobacco from the Indians, when I fired my gun, I was holding it right between the Mustang’s ears. So when the shot went off and plugged the Wildaterran in it’s skull, the horse slowed a bit and then bucked me clean into the air. I ended up coming down on his bucking hooves and was out again until night fall.
When I come to again, both the horse and the Wildaterran was gone. I tried to collect my reward, but no Wildaterran head meant no reward. So really the whole incident was pointless.
But now it was months later and I was in need of a Moon Walker. Figuring I still had my good standing with the Te’wa tribe I borrowed a horse, and rode down to their camp. I had just made it down into the valley when arrows came out of nowhere and dropped my horse down, another two stuck in my chest.
“Dammit, stop!” I shouted. “ I’m Abacus Jones!”
The arrows stopped, and slowly out from behind rocks and from the walls themselves painted with similar colors popped out the indians. They came to me slowly, bows still drawn, and one came up close and I recognized him as the one that put me on the horse months before.
I had thought I’d be given a great welcome, but the look on his face wasn’t so welcoming. They tied me up to a thin log and carried me the rest of the way to the camp like a hog for roasting. When the chief come out of his tent to see what the business was, I figured things would be okay. I was wrong.
“Chief! Thank goodness. I don’t think your boys recognize me here. Seems they forgot about good ole Abacus Jones. Now untie me, I got business to discuss with you.”
“…” Said the chief.
“Okay, then how about the arrows. These things feel like someone’s fingers are playing with my innards.”
“…” Said the chief again.
“Okay, jokes over. Let me down now.”
“White Devil,” began the chief. “You do not belong here anymore. You have soiled our sacred land. Stolen our most treasured horse, Windstorm. And you have disgraced your wife on the morning after your union.”
“I didn’t disgrace no one. I left to kill the Wildaterran. I was doing you a favor. All of you. And I ain’t exactly the marrying type. I was doing her a favor by leaving before I done anything I couldn’t take back.”
“You came with a body that could not be broken. You were watched as you fell down a great cliff. You were shot with arrows, your body to be taken to our camps and it’s valuables taken. This is our ways. But you lived, and you healed your wounds. We thought you were a flesh spirit. A spirit would not spit in our faces.”
“Look, I’m sorry, okay! I ain’t something any nice girl should be married to. Trust me, nothing good could come from being with me. So I did you a favor. I’m sorry I lost the horse, really, it was a great horse. But I got rid of the Wildaterran, so way I see it you owe me my release, and the use of one a’ your Moon Walkers.”
“What need you with the Moon Walker?”
“Werewolf problem over the ridge. I thought I’d get a better reception than this, but not to worry. I can be out of your hair quick enough, just need to know when the next full moon will be.”
“Then ask, Abacus Jones, and be gone. We would kill you if it were possible.”
“Well that’s mighty nice of you ain’t it? Any sorts, when’s the next full moon chief?”
“No, father!” Came a voice from the crowd. “I will tell my husband what he has come to know.”
The crowd separated, and then there she was. Same light skin, dark hair in braids, thin frame, baby bump…Fuck.